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Ruger Precision Rifle: Gen 3 [Hands-On Review]



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PRECISION IS IN THE NAME FOR A REASON

Not a new rifle by any means, but one that deserves a review from us for a lot of reasons. The Ruger Precision Rifle is finally getting the close look it needs!

Long-range shooting is hard, fun, and can be really expensive. Ruger is well-known for their budget-friendly but high-quality firearms that serve the public for exactly what we need and want. 

The RPR was one of their finest examples of this back in 2015 when they delivered to us a useable long-range rifle that didn’t break the bank, something that was almost unheard of at the time.

So what does the Gen 3 offer? Is this the rifle for you? We’ll answer that and more.

SPECS

  • Stock: Folding, Adjustable Length of Pull and Comb Height
  • Finish: Type III Black Hard-Coat Anodized
  • Adjustable Trigger 2.25lbs to 5lbs
  • 20 MOA Picatinny rail secured with # 8-40 Screws
  • Three-lug bolt with 70° throw
  • Barrel Length: 24″
  • Barrel: Cold Hammer-Forged, 5R Rifling
  • Barrel Profile: Medium
  • Muzzle Device: Ruger Hybrid Muzzle Brake
  • Thread Pattern: 5/8″-24
  • Twist: 1:8″ RH
  • Grooves: 5
  • Weight: 10.7 lb.
  • Capacity: 10
  • Height: 7.30″
  • Overall Length: 43.25″ – 46.75″
  • Length of Pull: 12″ – 15.50″
  • Folded Length: 35.60″
  • Width: 3.30″
  • Magazine: AICS, M1110/SR-25/DPMS, some M14 Mags
  • MSRP: $1929.00 (Average store price for the 6.5 CM model ~$1,550)

OVERVIEW

There was a time when the Ruger Precision Rifle was hands down the best starter rifle a long-range shooter could get their hands on. For the price, it was a lot of rifle for the money, plus offered a long list of features that kicked ass.

But now that we’re on the 3rd generation of the RPR and a full 8 years since the first generation hit shelves, does the value ratio of the RPR still hold up? More on that later.

For now, let’s talk about what the Gen 3 RPR delivers.

The RPR is a chassis bolt action rifle clearly made by someone who wanted to make this as close to an AR-15 as possible. The “upper” and “lower” are separate components and function much like the upper/lower of an AR-15. The upper has the barrel, bolt, and shooty bits, while the lower has the trigger, mag well, grip, and stock.

The stock is, more or less, on a buffer tube with no spring inside it. The grip and safety are both straight off an AR-15 and can even use other AR-15 parts if you’re so inclined. One small improvement is that the safety is a 45-degree throw. 

Up top we have a 20 MOA rail, a handguard with M-LOK at the 6, 3, 9, and 12 o’clock positions, and a very effective “hybrid” muzzle brake.

The trigger is adjustable between 2.25 and 5 pounds, and the wrench you need to do so is actually stored in the bolt shroud. Unfortunately, the trigger has a blade safety that kind of sucks. Again, more on that in a moment.

ON THE RANGE

I’ll spill the beans now, I really enjoy the RPR. Controls and ergonomics feel much like an AR-15, but bigger and at least a little better suited for bolt rifles. The folding stock is a nice touch that helps make the RPR travel a little easier.

Outside of that, the RPR is basically what you might expect. The recoil is softer than normal due to the brake, but not as soft as it could be with a better brake. For the casual shooter, it would be fine, but for an experienced shooter looking to track their shots, it’s not amazing.

The balance of the rifle feels good on barricades. I would have liked a real bag rider, but at least the RPR has 1913 railing, so you can add your own if you want.

Precision for me with Hornady ELD-M 140gr factory ammo was about 0.9 MOA with a 10-shot group. A larger sample size means a larger group than what some others claim the RPR can do, but I don’t believe in cherry-picking results. Still, sub-MOA is more than fine for a factory rifle.

I didn’t run into any issues with the rifle’s performance or reliability. My only real gripe about it is the safety blade on the trigger. When cocked, the blade tends to stick until you depress it. This gives you a weird trigger pull of having to fight past the blade before getting to the trigger itself.

Not only is this just annoying as hell, but it’s also a bit of a safety issue since you’re trying to force your way past the blade but also need to stop short of actually pulling the trigger. Maybe this is an oddity exclusive to my rifle, and maybe it would smooth out over time, but the fact that the blade exists in the first place isn’t great.

Aftermarket triggers exist for the RPR. After using the stock version, those would be high on my list of things to try.

JUDGMENT

I believe it’s time for Ruger to release a Gen 4 of the RPR if they want to stay relevant. The Gen 3 RPR is not a bad rifle by any means. I actually like it a lot, but the price is a bit steep, looking at what you get.

Plus, there are a couple of features that really should be standard by now but are missing from the Ruger.

Top of my list would be to add an ARCA rail to the handguard. Not everyone uses ARCA (yet), but enough of us do that we should at least have the option for it on the RPR. In a perfect world, I would even say to have the ARCA rail be removable with M-LOK under it.

The blade safety on the trigger needs to be thrown back into the dumpster fire it was born in. It’s annoying, it doesn’t improve anything, and it’s an extra part that shouldn’t exist. It has zero redeeming qualities. 

Now let’s talk price. I don’t remember what the MSRP of the Gen 1 RPR was at release, but according to some reviews I found written at the time, it launched at $1,400 and was in stores for about $1,100-1,200. That store price is about what I remember, so that seems accurate.

Right now, I can’t find a 6.5 CM RPR for under $1,550 new online. According to an inflation calculator I asked, $1,200 in 2015 has the buying power of $1,547 today… so technically, the RPR is basically the same price as it always was.

But the problem is that the RPR launched into a market that didn’t really have any good budget options. Eight years later, there are a TON of budget options. Many of them were developed specifically because the RPR showed there was a market for them, and so they could undercut the RPR.

Bergara B-14 HMR at about $1,000. Mossberg’s Patriot LR Tactical is also under $1,000. Rise the bar a little, and the Savage 110 Precision is still $100 less than the Ruger Precision Rifle.

All three have a better trigger and cost less.

Go a little past the RPR price, and you’re into rifles that offer major features like the ability to change your barrel at home, removable bolt heads, ARCA rails, and more.

Bottomline, while the price of the RPR hasn’t really changed except to keep up with inflation, it doesn’t offer the same value it once did. Without that, it’s hard to point out why the RPR should be your choice over something else.

LOOSE ROUNDS

In a vacuum, the Ruger Precision Rifle is a great rifle. Accurate, good ergonomics, and is easy to use. Ruger did a great job on this rifle. Maybe a little dated right now, but not by much, and not in a way that is a deal breaker. 

My only real hesitation is the price. With so many great long-range rifles out there targeting the “budget” market, the RPR isn’t as attractive as it used to be. It is still a great rifle, but not my first choice at the average street price and a flatly bad choice at full MSRP.

Find one on sale, maybe used, and I think this is a great option.

Or maybe you just really like Ruger and are willing to pay a little more for a brand you trust, in that case, you should know you’re getting a solid rifle that I think you’ll really enjoy.

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